Winter Winners: Festive Cocktails and Drinks

Tis the season to enjoy holiday parties, an evening with close friends, get-togethers and family gatherings. If you are looking to serve the same old wines and beers as you did last year, we can spice up your holiday and give you a party that will have everyone caroling along to warm holiday tunes while raving about your specialty drinks. Below we have given you a few crowd-pleasing winter-themed cocktails to wow your company at seasonable parties. Slow Cooked Mull-Wine with Season Tiding Garnish Not quite ready to separate yourself from wine at your parties, we can’t blame you, which is why there is this delicious slow cooker mulled wine to warm up cold hands and the hearts of your guests. Not only delicious, this drink will spread wintery scents all around your home or office party! What You Need: Crock Pot 1 bottle of Red Wine ½ cup of water ½ cup of sugar ¼ cup of brandy 2 cinnamon sticks 1 tsp whole allspice berries ½ tsp whole cloves 5 whole pods of cardamoms that you have crushed till you see seeds ½ vanilla bean that you cut down the center ¼ tsp of nutmeg, fresh is best 4-star anise 8 clementine, 4 four juicing, 4 for slicing and garnishing (Remove the seeds!) Garnish with:  Rosemary and a few fresh cranberries Don’t panic if you are not recognizing the seasonings in this holiday beverage, we didn’t either! But they can all be easily picked up at the store, and if you don’t have a crockpot use a very large pot on very low heat. How to whip up this brew: First, on high, pour in your water and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Then juice 4 out of the 8 clementines and add the juice to the pot. Then add in the rest of your spices and the whole bottle of wine and allow it to simmer on the ‘keep warm’ setting for about 30 minutes. We like to strain the wine before serving, add in 4 sliced clementines and garnish with rosemary and cranberries. Cranberry Martini Looking for a beverage that adds a little extra pep to your step? This elegant and simple to make cocktail is not only beautiful but also fresh tasting enough to make all of your holiday food pop! What You Need: (for 1 cup, multiply for more!) Martini Shaker 2 ounces of gin 1 ounce of cranberry simple syrup 1 ounce of vermouth Fresh Cranberries (just for garnish) Rosemary (garnish as well!) If you would like to make your own simple syrup: 1 cup of fresh cranberries ¾ cup of water 1/3 cup of sugar *Directions for the syrup, combine all in a small pot on the stove, and cook on medium for 10 minutes, you will see the cranberries pop! Mash the now soft ingredients and strain until there is only the juice! Shake that drink!: In a martini shaker, add ice, gin and your syrup and shake to chill. Then pour into a martini glass (tastes better with a chilled glass!) and garnish. Simple, elegant and most importantly, delicious! Sparkling Cider Sangria This clever concoction mixes our two favorite things, sparkling cider and sangria to make one delicious beverage! Not only is it aesthetically beautiful but the drink also can be made in pitchers ahead of time, that means as the host you can actually spend time with your guests instead of constantly whipping up the next cocktail! What You Need: (best for 8 servings) 2 Apples, peeled, cored and very thinly sliced to create spears ½ cup cognac 2 cups apple cider (any brand will do, but make sure not to buy juice!) Dry Sparkling Wine, chilled ¼ cup pomegranate seeds Start Pouring!: In a pitcher add in apples, leaving half a cup to the side for later, then add in your cognac apple cider and sparkling wine. Gently stir this concoction before adding in ice. In individual glasses, add ice and then top with your leftover sliced apples and the pomegranate seeds before pouring out your Sangria beverage! Enjoy this easy to make and even easier to drink, cocktail! Honey Hot Toddy This classic winter beverage will not only be a blast at your party but is also really great for soothing sickness. In this recipe, we take into consideration those wanting a healthier and less sugary beverage to serve to their guests. Whether you are watching calories, fighting a cold, or warming the bellies of your guests, this cocktail is a crowd pleaser! What You Need: 1 ½ ounces of brandy 7 ounces of hot water ¾ tablespoon of honey 2 tablespoons of lemon juice 1-star anise 1 cinnamon stick (or cloves if you have them!) 2-3 thin slices of lemon for garnish Mix it up:             In a heat resistant glass, stir together your brandy, hot water, and lemon juice. Then add in the anise, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Finally, garnish with lemons and serve! If you make a big batch of this cocktail ahead of time make sure it stays nice and warm for your guests, once cold this beverage isn’t quite as tasty. If you find that you are not a big brandy fan, you can substitute the alcohol with scotch or bourbon. Regardless of what beverage you choose to serve up at this year’s holiday party, these beautiful and tasty beverages will be true crowd pleasers. If you are feeling more adventurous try making two beverages, one hot and cold to give your guests an option! We personally love the combination of the Sparkling Cider Sangria and the Slow Cooked Mull-Wine with Season Tiding Garnish for an excellent drink pairing with a wine theme! Your party will not only warm their stomachs but will also warm their hearts to some good old fashioned winter cheer!

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